I'm cheap. I've got an 8-bus Mackie
in the studio and a 4-bus Peavey
for live work. Both are about 6 years old.
has some nice features in their 8-bus - the 24-channel unit
has 444 pushbuttons, many of which do signal routing tricks I used to need a patch panel
for. The problem is the switches themselves are a high-failure item. None of them has actually stopped working, but over about the last year or so it's gotten to where I need to push some of the buttons 4 or 5 times to get them to work. One of these years, when I have a week to spare, I need to open it up and clean them. Need to clean some of the insert jacks, too. Still, the $2500 pricetag for a 24-channel 8-bus board wasn't hard to handle, and the sound quality has been good. Go to my website and drill down through "about us" "autobiographical notes" and you can find an mp3
sample from a recent (November, 2003) session - it still sounds good inspite of the dirty switches.
, on the other hand
, is a road
warrior. After 6 years of being plugged and unplugged two or three times a week, a couple of the XLRs are starting to get flakey. It's an SRC-4026, built into a road case
. The cover
latches lasted less than 2 years - for the last four, I've duct-taped the cover
on for transport.
carried about the same pricetage, but doesn't have all the whistles and bells of the Mackie
. It's got 4-band EQ, but the mids are not sweepable. No "mix B" and' like I said, it's a 4-bus. But it's got 6 true aux sends , 4 strictly pre-fader and two switchable pre or post. It's got 24 channel
strips - 20 have both XLR
1/4 inch inputs, two have strictly XLR
, but include phase
switches, and two are stereo inputs (pairs of 1/4" mono
phone jacks) for connecting a couple CD players or similar items. These two channel
strips don't have inserts, the other 22 do, as well as the four submasters and left and right mains.
The board has true 48 volt phantom power
. Unfortunately, it's all-or-nothing: one switch
turns it on for all XLRs - you can't turn it on or off for individual channels.
It also has a mono
main-mix output which gets more use than the separate left and right outputs. With a stereo mix, there's a "sweet spot" near the center of the room where you can hear everything. People off to one side or the other only get part of the sound. With a mono
mix, you lose the position information, but everybody hears everything no matter where in the room they are.
I'm recommending you look at Peavey
. Oh, if you hook up a white noise
generator and a spectrum analyzer, or a distortion
analyzer, you'll find the Mackie
is a little cleaner, but my ears can't tell the difference. Meanwhile, the Peavey
has stood up very well to life on the road
, while the Mackie
is deteriorating in the coddled environment of the studio. Even though you're talking about a permanent installation, in a high school a mixer
is likely to be accidentally abused by barely-trained amateurs. Rugged should probably be an important factor in your decision and, if nothing else, Peavey
gear is that